It’s that time again. The Summer is coming to an end and the kids will soon head back to school. Back to school is about much more than buying new clothes and school supplies. It’s a time to think about the coming year and how you can create the best environment for yourself and your children to succeed in the next 10 months.
A morning routine is key. Routine is as important as a good night’s sleep. If you wake up every morning stresses out trying to get the kids fed, dressed, ready for the day and out the door it won’t be a good start for anyone. Take some time to think about your morning routine. Are there ways to simplify it: set out breakfast items the night before, have your children help make their own lunches if they’re old enough, set out clothes the night before etc. Discuss the routine with every family member so everyone knows what their responsibilities are for a successful start every morning.
Create a central location for homework. Consider your child’s needs, are they most productive at a table or desk or will a lap desk on the couch work better for them? Keep all of their supplies close: pencils, pens, markers, extra paper, etc. This will also be the place to keep incoming school papers, backpacks, lunch bags/boxes etc.
Create a command centre binder. This binder will hold any important papers from school or kids activities that you need to refer to all year long. This is also a good place to keep helpful information for yourself: notes from the teacher, tutor etc., study tools your kids will need through the year, flyers and pamphlets of upcoming activities, sports or hobby schedules etc. Also consider having a centralized family calendar in the binder or in a central location so everyone is privy to upcoming events (if your family is tech savvy I would highly recommend a family google calendar).
Enter dates on the calendar immediately. Whether you have a iphone/blackberry or a paper calendar enter all important dates as soon as your receive the info about them. Enter all important information about the event and then recycle the paper it came on. This will ensure you don’t miss any important events and you won’t hold onto unnecessary papers.
A tray for incoming papers. Papers never seem to stop during the school year. Whether it’s a permission slip, a report card, a note from the teacher, a test your child aced etc. there are daily papers you have to deal with. Set-up two trays in a central location, preferably near the designated homework area, one tray for papers you need to deal with immediately and one tray for papers that aren’t as time sensitive. Address the papers daily and you won’t miss important dates for your child and you won’t become overwhelmed by large piles. Teach your child to put their papers in the tray everyday, it is not your responsibility to dig through their backpack every night.
Don’t over schedule. It seems the number one stressor for children and their parents during the school year is trying to fit all of the responsibilities and activities into the day. Don’t over schedule your children in activities. Encourage your child to be apart of groups and sports, but be realistic about the time commitments and logistics. Leave space for family time and down time with friends.
Good luck in the upcoming school year. Next week I’ll address the kids art and how to keep it organized and under control. Make it a great week!